The history of the development of buprenorphine as an addiction therapeutic
Article first published online: 18 JAN 2012
© 2012 New York Academy of Sciences.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume 1248, Addiction Reviews pages 124–139, February 2012
How to Cite
Campbell, N. D. and Lovell, A. M. (2012), The history of the development of buprenorphine as an addiction therapeutic. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1248: 124–139. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2011.06352.x
- Issue published online: 3 FEB 2012
- Article first published online: 18 JAN 2012
- addiction therapeutics;
- narcotic antagonists;
- partial agonist–antagonists
This paper traces the early 21st century success of the agonist–antagonist buprenorphine and the combination drug buprenorphine with naloxone within the broader quest to develop addiction therapeutics that began in the 1920s as the search for a nonaddictive analgesic. Drawing on archival research, document analysis, and interviews with contemporary actors, this paper situates the social organization of laboratory-based and clinical research within the domestic and international confluence of several issues, including research ethics, drug regulation, public attitudes, tensions around definitions of drug addiction, and the evolving roles of the pharmaceutical industry. The fervor that drove the champions of buprenorphine must be understood in relation to (1) the material work of research and pharmaceutical manufacturing; (2) the symbolic role of buprenorphine as a solution to numerous problems with addiction treatment evident by the mid-1970s; the destigmatization and individualization of addicts as patients; and (3) the complex configurations of public and private partnerships.